Braille Essential for Both Employment and Enjoyment
Recent data suggests that 90% or more of the blind presently employed at least part-time in the United States are Braille readers. This important statistic hints at an even more important idea: Braille is an essential tool in the pursuit of independence and achievement for the blind and sight-impaired. Without it they are certainly faced with a more daunting climb toward equality. Knowing Braille gives the blind their best chance at reaching goals and objectives that might otherwise be unachievable. This is true both for their hopes of success in employment as well as in finding enjoyment in entertainment. Rather than being dependent on what someone else has determined is worthy of being recorded to audio, the blind have access to a much wider range of texts that have been printed in Braille versus those only recorded to CD.
The Value of Braille Relates to Perceptions of the Blind
Unfortunately, there are some who believe that the fact that it takes effort to learn Braille and that there is now technology available to replace it are sufficient reasons to discourage continued efforts to teach Braille to children. This angers many in the blind community, and for good reason. They argue that this viewpoint reveals a prejudice against the blind, specifically as it relates to their expectations of the blind’s potential for advancement and full equality. Every effort that can be made to revive the learning of Braille among children should be heartily pursued. This will insure that they control their own futures, rather than having those futures limited or controlled by others.
Changes Come Incrementally
Rather than applying a broad brush to this problem, it is best to approach it in as local a way as possible. This means that change will start at the individual level. As advocates for the blind, whether these are parents, educators, or government and business leaders, decide to emphasize the learning of Braille to blind children, the tide can be reversed. It’s not too late to start.